Saturday, 7 June 2014

Garden Bio Blitz 2014

The idea of the annual garden BioBlitz is to list of all the wildlife found in your garden over a 24 hour period. I first heard about it on last year’s BBC Springwatch but didn't get round to doing anything about it until this year. Really it was Ryan Clark (do yourself a favour and look at his photos) whose tweets and retweets encouraged me to have a go this year.

Two male fallow deer - Photo from Bushnell trail camera.
I thought I knew about the wildlife that visits and grows in our large and rather shaggy garden. We know we get deer, foxes and badgers because we have seen field signs (that's poo and footmarks to you) and photos from the Bushnell. Also, I was confident that we have a couple of dozen species of wild flowers, frogs and a small assortment  of "creepy crawlies".

However there were plenty of surprises for me:
  • the sheer number and variety of species in our garden
  • how beautiful and strange grasses are under a magnifying glass
  • we have liverworts between the paving slabs - the last time I paid attention to one of those, I was studying their weird lifecycle at school more than quarter of a century ago
  • the wonderful and colourful variety of insect life in our garden and how little I know about it.
Mint moth - about 13 mm - tiny with beautifully intricate markings.
The BioBlitz really encouraged me to look at plants and creatures in the garden properly. For example, it had never really occurred to me to try and identify the tiny brown moths we find in our garden. A few minutes with UKMoth’s keyword search showed me that they are mint moths and I was able to add them to my list.   In the end I found and identified 105 species.

It is very motivating knowing that there are hundreds of others doing the same thing. Also the BioBlitz organisers had set up mechanisms to help people identify their finds via tweets or the iSpot website.

Extract from BioBlitz Info Centre (5th June 2014).
On Sunday morning I got most of the results into iRecord. A few days later I finished off and checked back on the site to see what other people had recorded. I was delighted to find that I was in the top 20 of the Recorders League. Then I spent a little time browsing round the site, and found that someone was doing the BioBlitz only a couple of miles from me. 

Recorder's League. Extract from iRecord, 5 June 2014.
At some point I will go back and set up a filter so I can see what local people are recording and I'll definitely spend some more time in the garden finding out what's there and putting it on iRecord.

So next year, I’ll be back. Meanwhile, this is me, recording wildlife in our garden ...


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